Following the events of New Avengers and the Secret Invasion, among the heroes who made a return to the pages of comic pages are Mockingbird and the real Jessica Drew, the original Spider-Woman. This launched the 2009-2010 7-issue mini-series with Jessica as the title character as she attempts to find the last vestiges of her life, as she has been held captive by the Skrulls for a significant number of years and replaced by the Skrulls’ own “Queen’. Published by Marvel Comics and written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Alex Maleev (both made a legendary run in the pages of Daredevil), the series blends the elements of a spy thriller, revenge drama and dark fantasy with a tough, gritty attitude.
Jessica was given her powers as a result of an experiment by terrorists, she has led lives as an agent, investigator, an Avenger and as Spider-woman. After being abducted by the shape-shifting skrulls, Jessica is trying to re-enter her life while feeling paranoid and unsure of who her real friends are. Jessica is then approached by Abigail Brand, the leader of a new planetary defense agency called S.W.O.R.D. that sets her on a mission to hunt down the remaining sleeper cells of the Skrull empire. Jessica is taking her life back…one skrull at a time.
What would you do if you’ve kidnapped and held captive a lot longer than anyone can bear? One would look for the best avenues to find closure from the horrific experiences that one has been forced to bear. So Jessica Drew goes for closure, the only way she knows how--taking down Skrulls. I liked the way Bendis plays on the paranoia inherent when one has been through such an experience. Drew is shown as angry, afraid, unsure and definitely skillful in her hunt. Most of the series is pretty straight-forward, Drew hunts down her targets, in costume and in civilian garb. From super-skrulls, and enhanced shape-shifters, she engages them in combat, and plays for keeps.
Going through some figures from her past, Madame Hydra shows up to haunt Jessica. (keep in mind that this story arc happens while Norman Osborn is in charge of H.A.M.M.E.R., Shield’s replacement agency) as she tries to play her psychological mind games with her. That was quite a story line, as Madame Hydra seeks to break Jessica’s confidence and maybe once again join up with her. The organization called “Sword” is also one mysterious organization, as we barely get to know any info about this agency. It was a nice touch to have the reader wondering and expecting different things.
Alex Maleev does the illustrations with pure gritty style that gives the comic its very atmospheric feel. The series has action in it, but it is the type that doesn’t feel cartoonish. The fights are almost realistic and has the quality of dramatic impact that most people have seen in crime dramas on TV. The dialogue by Bendis is real good, and feels real mature as with the sharp language used in the comic book. The series succeeds in bringing together a sci-fi, espionage super-hero story arc that was effective, precise and simple. The series also has a brief cameo of the New Avengers.
One may say that “Spider-Woman” is lacking in intricacies to its plotline, and I agree. I did wish that there was more of a story here and it feels predictable in some areas of the series. It is a simple effort to bring forth the Jessica Drew character, but once you realize that the series isn’t about intricacies but rather it is about the strength of the character, then it will satisfy. “Spider-Woman” returns with a vengeance, and she is an Avenger.
Highly Recommended! [4 out of 5 stars]
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Spider-Woman is a 2009–2010 comic booklimited series written by Brian Michael Bendis, drawn by Alex Maleev, published by Marvel Comics and starring Spider-Woman. It is the fourth Marvel series released under the title Spider-Woman. The series is released concurrently in both print comic book and motion comic forms, making it the first original motion comic released by a major publisher. The series was ended at issue #7 due to the large workload created by concurrently printing the comic book and the motion comic.